I keep reading and hearing this phrase "You don't get a medal for natural childbirth." Well, that's true, but you don't get a medal for running a marathon either. Yet people don't get chastised for wanting to accomplish that! Can you imagine if you were running a marathon, and everyone on the side lines was yelling "You can't do this, are you crazy?" , "Just stop running already! You could be done with all this pain if you stopped running." And at every water station they had an option for you to use a vespa for the rest of the race? Not even just an option, but people telling you that is the only way to do it, and that you are crazy for continuing to run at all.
Now I understand childbirth and marathons are not the exact same thing. (But they are darn close!) For one, saying that getting an epidural is like riding a vespa, I know that's not true, but its certainly makes a difference! I know some people that say they still felt quite a bit with their epidural, and some people who said they felt nothing. Also, epidurals do not come without risks, so again, another unfair comparison. List of epidural risks here Moms are being pushed to get epidurals, but not informed of all the risks. I know I was not fully informed with my first daughters birth.
People won't eat canned tuna while pregnant, lunch meat, sushi, hot dogs, soft cheeses, certain fish, sprouts, unpasteurized juices, and peanuts. They won't have a sip of wine and religiously take their prenatal vitamins. They are completely militant for 9 months, but when it comes down to delivery, people are begging for the epidural and taking Pitocin without asking questions. Yet, I am crazy for wanting to avoid interventions and drugs?
I don't expect everyone to have a natural birth. That's like asking someone who has never been for a jog to run a marathon. I would suggest training for this marathon! By eating well, walking, taking a birthing class, surrounding yourself with a positive birth team, hiring a doula, and writing out that birth plan! In mine, I highlighted that I was not to be offered pain relief. (Like I didn't know it was an option anyhow??) All I ask is that the next time someone says they want a natural birth, try not to look at them like they have an extra foot growing out of their forehead. Instead, suggest things that could HELP them accomplish their goal. Its not like they are on a personal mission to see how much pain they can endure without passing out. They are just trying to experience all childbirth has to offer,and doing it like people have been since the dawn of time. Minus the squatting over a hole with blankets in it part. (Although, that doesn't sound too bad to me)
So no, you don't get a medal for natural childbirth. You don't need one. You get the satisfaction of accomplishing your goal and all the glory that goes along with it. You get the extra rush of endorphins, you get to push in any position you want, you get to birth with little potential for harm or side effects for you or your baby. I don't feel crazy for having a natural childbirth. For me, it really wasn't that bad! I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Rock on you natural birth mamas, you epidural moms, you cesarean moms. Rock on you moms that know your options and support each other for making your own decisions!